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tom dixon With an OBE, his designs housed in some of the world’s greatest museums and his latest project, the Dock Kitchen,

In the early 1990’s, notting hill was full of actors, designers and lots of creative people – I realised that they were my ideal customers

pulling in the crowds, British design icon Tom Dixon could be forgiven for resting on his laurels. Not a chance Wandering around the Tom Dixon Shop surveying his latest collection of beautiful furniture and exquisite lighting, it is hard to believe that the British designer fell into his trade by accident. With no formal training, Dixon found himself with “time on his hands” while recovering from a motorcycle accident nearly 30 years ago and taught himself welding while trying to put his bike back together. Little could he have foreseen then that his hobby would result in him becoming the well-known maverick businessman that he is today.

dinny hall

In 1992, Hall opened up her first

Owner, Dinny Hall jewellers

shop on Westbourne Grove.

aged four by his English father, a teacher, and French-Latvian

Little did she imagine that it

mother, who was a journalist at the BBC World Service. After

Born in Sfax, Tunisia, in 1959, Dixon was brought to London

It seems that Dinny Hall has

would grow into the company

dropping out of Chelsea Art School in 1980 only six months

always had magpie instincts and

it is today, with five outlets,

into his degree, Dixon played the bass guitar in the band

that a life of a jewellery designer

concessions in Selfridges and

Funkapolitan and organised warehouse parties for a time. But,

was always going to be her

celebrity fans of the likes of

with his accident putting dreams of being a rock star behind

destiny. “I found a Cartier brooch

Sienna Miller and Kate Winslet.

him, he refocused, developing a DIY approach to design that

at a jumble sale when I was seven

The designer, who spends

matched the post-punk mood of the early 1980s. “I was immediately hooked on welding,” Dixon has said of

years old. I didn’t know it was

precious downtime with her

Cartier until I got it home. I paid a

15-year-old son, admits that her

that time, “mesmerised by the tiny pool of molten metal, viewed

meagre four pence,” she laughs.

knowledge of the area and her

from the safety of darkened goggles, allowing an instant fusion

“I always had a good eye.”

clientele has been a big help.

of one piece of steel to another. It had none of the seriousness

Hall moved to London to

“I think one of the keys to the

of craft and none of the pomposity of design: it was industry. It

attend Central St Martin’s college

success of the business is that I

suited my impatience perfectly, giving me the opportunity to

before deciding that the fashion

have grown with my customers

build, destroy, adjust and remake structures instantly.”

world wasn’t for her. “For me

and as the area has changed my

jewellery seemed a bit more

style has reflected that.”

of a solitary thing than fashion

Inspired by a love of architecture,

The self-taught designer-maker had turned his attention to furniture design in 1983. Within two years Giulio Cappellini, head of Italian furniture manufacturer Cappellini,

design,” she explains. “I had

travelling, nature and people,

had put two of his pieces – the S Chair and Bird Lounger –

lived in Notting Hill since I was a

Hall’s latest collection is inspired

into production. The collaboration can be seen as one of the

student so my whole social life

by 1960’s style icon, Talitha

most influential in his development as a designer, with Dixon

was based around W11. I knew

Getty and she is about to go into

describing it as a “real eye opener. It was a window into a

people here and I knew the area

her Jackie O phase. Her many

world where design was prized and respected in its capacity

and by the end of the 1980s,

customers will continue to be very

to grow industry.” Since then, Dixon has produced many

early 1990s, it was full of actors,

happy about that.

products. Among the most notable are the Mirrorball and

200 Westbourne Grove, W11;

innovation reflected in lines such as the Eco Ware range of

designers and lots of creative people, and I realised that these were my ideal customers.”

Jack lights, and the Wingback Chair, his constant quest for tableware made from biodegradable bamboo fibre. In 1998 Dixon accepted his “first proper job” and was appointed

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